- What is an EDD Scam Text?
- How to Spot an EDD Scam Text
- Ways to Protect Yourself Against an EDD Scam Text
- What To Do If You’ve Fallen for an EDD Scam Text
Scammers are targeting unemployment insurance claimants by pretending to be from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) or Bank of America (BofA) to trick them into giving up personal information by text message. This EDD scam text includes a link in which recipients need to click on in order to resolve various issues with their account. Before interacting with any text message from EDD, learn how the scam works, what red flags to be on the lookout for, and how to avoid falling for this con.
What is an EDD Scam Text?
More than $181 billion has been paid out in unemployment insurance payments since the start of the pandemic. So, it’s not surprise that scammers have found a way to capitalize on this financial gold mine. There are a couple of iterations of the EDD scam text, but they generally follow a similar script.
Here’s how they work:
You Get a Text From EDD or Bank of America
You’ll receive a text claiming to be from EDD or BofA notifying you of an issue with your account. This could be something like new security upgrades to prevent fraud or a temporary suspension on your card. The text will include a link to verify your account or reactivate it. However, this is a phishing link meant to steal your information.
You Click the Link in the Text
If you click on the link you are taken to a website which requires you to enter personal information. Although the website may look like it’s taking you to the department’s legitimate website, it’s actually a fake website set up by the scammer.
You Enter Your Personal Information
Because the website looks real, you may decide to enter the information to reactivate your account or verify it to update your security settings. You may be asked for:
- Your debit card number
- Your debit card’s expiration date
- Your debit card’s security code
- Your ATM pin
The Scammer Has Your Information
Once you fill this out, the scammer will have this info and will have access to your financial accounts. This could not only lead to a loss in money but also identity theft.
How to Spot an EDD Scam Text
There are a few telltale signs to watch for when you receive a text claiming to be from EDD or BofA regarding your account.
How EDD Sends Links
EDD only sends text messages with website links that begin with "edd.ca.gov." Any other URL means that the text is fraudulent, and you shouldn’t click on the link or reply to the text.
Other red flags of the EDD scam text include:
- Spelling or grammatical errors
- Unusual phrasings of words
- This generally occurs when scammers speak another language, and the translation doesn’t copy over correctly into the English language
- A sense of urgency (e.g., must act now!)
- Texts coming from any numbers other than "510-74" or "918-06"
- EDD only contacts claimants via the above numbers.
- However, scammers can fake a text to look like it’s coming from those numbers so it’s always a good idea to login to your UI Online account first to verify the text’s legitimacy.
- Texts asking for your personal information such as:
- Login credentials
- Your debit card number
- Your social security number (SSN)
- Your banking information
Ways to Protect Yourself Against an EDD Scam Text
There are a number of ways to protect yourself against this scam, such as:
- Never clicking on any links in an unexpected text message. Login to your UI Online account directly to make sure that the message was in fact sent by EDD. If it was, it’ll show up in your messages folder.
- Never providing personal or banking information in response to an unsolicited text message. EDD will never ask you to reactive your debit card via text.
- Not responding to any suspicious text messages. This can be a way for scammers to see how vulnerable you are for more serious scams in the future.
- Never blindly trusting the phone number listed in the text. The number may be a fake line setup to trick you into speaking with the scammers.
- Calling Bank of America directly using their customer service phone number located on the back of your debit card.
- Not clicking on any links within your text message that don’t start with “edd.ca.gov.”
What To Do If You’ve Fallen for an EDD Scam Text
If you feel you’ve been the victim of an EDD scam text, take the below steps to protect your financial assets and identity.
- Contact EDD directly by visiting Ask EDD (https://askedd.edd.ca.gov/s/)
- Select the Report Fraud category to submit a Fraud Reporting Form online
- Report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud
- Visit justice.gov/disaster-fraud or call 866-720-5721
- Report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov
- Forward the text message to 7726 (SPAM)
- Update your UI Online password.
- Even if you didn’t give out your personal information, it’s a good idea to change your password using a combination of numbers, letters, and characters.